find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
LCA launches equitable briefing targets

LCA launches equitable briefing targets

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has adopted an updated equitable briefing policy that sets out targets for the briefing of women barristers.

Under the policy, signatories set an aim to brief women in 30 per cent of all matters and pay women 30 per cent of the value of all brief fees by 2020. Both targets drop to 20 per cent in relation to senior barristers.

The new initiative is a revamp of the Model Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy for Female Barristers and Advocates, which was launched by the LCA in 2004 and amended in 2009.

However, this new policy goes much further than the original in its efforts to create accountability, though all targets remain "non-mandatory".

Aside from including briefing targets for the first time, signatories will also be asked to provide a confidential report of their briefing figures back to the Law Council of Australia each year.

This data will then be made public, though individual firm statistics will not be released.

Law Council of Australia president Stuart Clark said names of those who have adopted the policy would also be published to "encourage cultural change".

"The support by the leaders of the various Bar Associations and Law Societies is very encouraging, but it’s obviously only the start," he said.

"We have moved beyond simply acknowledging the problem and are now all working together to begin to address it."

The policy was championed by Law Council of Australia president-elect Fiona McLeod SC, who was also instrumental in encouraging Australia’s largest companies to sign up to an equitable briefing policy last year in her previous role as Australian Bar Association president.

"This new policy reflects a genuine commitment by the profession to address inequality in briefing practices that have resulted in relatively low appearance rates and the persistent significant disparity in fees," she said.

She stressed the need to attract more diversity to the bar by "showing young women such a career is possible".

"Currently, we have a situation in which women are graduating from Australian law schools in significantly larger numbers than their male counterparts, yet they make up a low percentage of barristers, spend fewer hours in court, and get paid less in fees," she said.

The original iteration of the LCA equitable briefing policy had a number of flaws, according to a report by the NSW Bar Association Equitable Briefing Working Group from August last year.

In particular, it failed to "establish tangible obligations as to outcomes" and "lacked a comprehensive register of organisations that had adopted the policy" – failings which the newest iteration of the policy appear to address.

Overall, the working group evaluated that the policy failed to translate to a change in briefing practices.

However, the Law Council of Australia expressed its full faith in the updated initiative.

"I am confident that given the very real intent to improve the situation that exists both within and without the legal profession, the Equitable Briefing Policy can provide the structure for real and meaningful change," Mr Clark said.

Law firms, as well as government and corporate in-house counsel, will be invited to sign up to the policy. A series of events around Australia will mark the launch over coming weeks.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

LCA launches equitable briefing targets
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...